The Mexican election agency withdrew the registration from the poll of a state candidate from the ruling party who had been nominated despite rape charges against him – but the move was made for technical reasons, not because allegations.
The decision angered President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who defended candidate Félix Salgado and criticized women’s groups who opposed his candidacy.
“This is an attack on democracy,” López Obrador said on Friday, claiming that “high-level mafia interests” wanted Salgado disqualified as a candidate for governor of southern state. Guerrero. “It’s undemocratic.”
The National Electoral Institute ruled Thursday evening that Salgado had not declared the money he spent during the primary process and that his candidacy would no longer be officially recognized.
Mexico will hold national and federal midterm elections on June 6.
Salgado won López Obrador’s Morena party nomination earlier this month, despite protests from women’s rights activists. He did not personally respond to the accusations, although his lawyer denied them.
Salgado on Friday vowed to challenge the ruling in court, calling it “crass and arbitrary,” but did not say whether he had declared all the expenses required by Mexico’s election laws.
Salgado was chosen as a candidate by a poll of Morena party members despite nationwide protests that two women accused him of rape.
López Obrador has been stung by protests against his administration for his refusal to break with Salgado. The president said the issue should be left to the voters of Guerrero, and claimed it was being raised by his enemies, “the conservatives.”
Salgado has not been charged; the limitation period has expired in one case and the other is still under investigation.
Salgado, who bears the nickname Toro, or “Bull,” is a former federal lawmaker and mayor of Acapulco who has been known for his questionable behavior in the past. He was filmed fighting with police in Mexico City in 2000.
Former Guerrero State Attorney Xavier Olea told The Associated Press that current Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo ordered him in 2017 not to investigate one of the rape charges against Salgado, although Astudillo denied it.